It seems there's still a place in the world for ad network rollups. Investment company JMG Exploration, parent to an ad network of Internet access points called AdVantage Networks, has acquired travel ad network Travora Media.
With the acquisition, JMG will rebrand as MediaShift and position itself as a way to reach "on-the-go" Internet users.
Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, and the companies declined to answer questions on revenue growth or profitability. Management did say that Travora achieved gross media revenues of $12.9 million in 2011, but declined to share 2012 figures, suggesting revenues may have fallen at a time when budgets began migrating to programmatic media channels at the expense of some ad networks.
The deal comes weeks after a Skift report stated Travora is "shutting down." Commenters on that article claiming to be Travora executives and partners disputed that telling of events, and the acquisition this week suggests the company will indeed continue to operate.
Travora used to be called Travel Ad Network, and was run by current Right Media chief Brian Silver, but it rebranded in 2011 due to a dispute over ownership of its name. In April 2012 it acquired The Nile Project, which owned three travel websites including NileGuide, creating an owned & operated anchor for its ad network.
AdVantage Networks represents inventory served through Internet access points operated mostly by hotels and airports. The young company (created in 2010 but not launched until Q4 2012) serves interstitials and other ads seen by Internet users as they access public Internet networks.
Travora brings 20 staffers, while AdVantage has 21 and an offshore workforce of unconfirmed size.
Brendon Kensel is president of AdVantage, and going forward will hold the same title at MediaShift. He tells AdExchanger, "We were looking to build a very robust ad sales team. Travora makes a huge amount of sense to acquire and combine, because they have a very experienced ad sales team and ad operations team."
So is MediaShift buying Travora strictly for its ad sales and ops chops? Not according to Kensel. He says Travora will continue to deliver value as standalone business, including through its publisher network, accounting team, and so on. There are no plan to break either company down into component parts or dissolve either brand.
That said, he says AdVantage will significantly deepen Travora's technical capabilities. "We can build rich data profiles that allow for much better segmenting and targeting of consumers."
For instance, AdVantage brings more robust audience segmentation capabilities that will be used to enrich Travora audience targeting. But these data enhancements will be gravy on the main course of MediaShift's model – which is vertical seller aggregation.
"Providing high quality inventory to an on-the-go consumer through a distributed base is something pretty unique in the industry," he said.
And in case you're wondering who the #1 travel ad network is, the answer is TripAdvisor, according to comScore.